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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Ancient statues have been prized by collectors through most of history. This chapter looks at the major assemblages of Roman sculpture formed in the premodern period, from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. Initially concentrated in Italy, these collections gradually found favor throughout Europe. Prized in the Renaissance for their beauty, rarity, and artistic virtuosity, ancient (usually marble) sculptures bestowed status on their owners, sometimes hinting at noble genealogies. In subsequent centuries, ever-larger collections bespoke their owners’ wealth, as well as social prestige and political power. Grand Tour collecting in the eighteenth century established neoclassical taste among collectors and aesthetes throughout Europe. Finally, in the latter phase of our history, sculptural collections advanced the imperialist ideologies of the emerging European states of Britain, France, and Germany.

Keywords: Albani, archaeology, Capitoline, collecting, Farnese, Napoleon, Papacy, Rome, Vatican, Wunderkammer

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